Welcome back to the Personal Bible Study Challenge here at BibleBaton! For the third step of our study in Ephesians 6, you’ll learn 3 symbols you can use to unlock the meaning of the Bible! Scroll down for more details.
Ever wished you understood the Bible better?
I started trying to read the Bible regularly when I was in high school. Every morning I dutifully opened my Bible and read a bit. I took a few notes in a tiny notebook.
I even taught the Bible regularly, first in a Sunday School class and later at our after-school kids’ club.
But even though I was reading and even teaching God’s Word, I often didn’t understand much of it. I felt sure there was more, under the surface—but I didn’t know how to get down to it. It wasn’t until I went and got my Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies that I finally learned how to dig down and get to that good stuff.
Maybe you’re in the same boat—you read the Bible regularly and even teach it. But you don’t feel like you don’t really understand it well.
I have good news for you!
You don’t have to go to college, like I did, to learn how to understand the Bible. It’s actually simple and even easy to study the Bible!
In the last two posts in this Personal Bible Study Challenge, you’ve learned:
- How to read the Bible repeatedly
- 3 things to look for in the Bible
Today, I’m going to show you three easy symbols that can help you unlock the meaning of the Bible. You can use these with any Bible passage, but we’ll practice using them in Ephesians 6.
Use these 3 symbols to unlock the meaning of the Bible!
- The first symbol is an equilateral triangle, and we’ll use it anytime we find the word “but.”
- The second symbol is a diamond, and we’ll use it anytime we find the word “and.”
- The third symbol is an elongated triangle, and we’ll use it anytime we find the words “therefore” or “so that.”
Why are we looking for and marking these particular words? Because they all have to do with relationships between events. Often they’ll help you to see cause-and-effect in Scripture—or to notice a list. And noticing things like that brings you much closer to understanding the point of the passage you’re reading.
So let’s try it!
If you’re comfortable marking in your Bible, turn to Ephesians 6:10-20. If you’d rather not mark in your Bible, you can print out Ephesians 6:10-20 from Bible Gateway.
Grab a pen, pencil, or marker. In my Bible, I usually use just a pencil because it’s simple and easy. But it is more interesting visually to use different colors—especially if you’re working on a separate piece of paper. So you may want to grab three different pens or markers.
Now read through the passage quickly, keeping an eye out for any instance of the word “but.” When you find the word “but,” mark it with a triangle like this:
Why the triangle? I personally use the triangle because the two corners at the top remind me that there is a relationship between what was said before the “but,” and what was said after it.
To be honest, you can use any shape you’d like. But I recommend the triangle. It’s a visual reminder of the significance of “but.”
After you’ve marked all the uses of the word “but” in Ephesians 6:10-20, take a moment to think about what was said before each “but,” and what was said after it.
- How are those two things related?
- How do they contrast with each other?
- How important is the thing that was said after the “but”—especially in light of what was said before it?
Write any thoughts or insights in the margin.
Now read through the passage again, looking for any use of the word “and.” When you come across the word “and,” draw a diamond around it like this:
Why the diamond? Of course you can use any shape you’d like. But I personally use the diamond because the two tips on the right and left remind me that there’s a connection between what was said before the word “and,” and what was said after.
In fact, when you start looking for the word “and,” you may also notice lists in Scripture more readily. If you do see a list in the Bible, I recommend writing numbers next to each item in the list.
After you’ve marked all the uses of “and” in Ephesians 6:10-20 (and numbered any lists you found, as well), think about the significance of the connections.
- What does the word “and” draw your attention to in Ephesians 6:10-20?
- How are the things before and after the “and” connected?
- If “and” drew your attention to a list, what is the topic or subject of the list?
Again, write any thoughts or insights in the margin.
“Therefore” and “so that”
Finally, read Ephesians 6:10-20 one more time. This time, look for any uses of the words “therefore” or “so that” (or any other phrase that indicates a cause-and-effect, or a result of some kind).
When you find words like “therefore” or “so that,” mark them with an elongated triangle like this:
You may be able to guess why I use this triangle—it’s a visual reminder that “therefore” and “so that” points ahead to a conclusion.
You may not think of “therefore” or “so that” as connecting words, like “but” or “and.” But they are. Whatever follows a “therefore” or a “so that” is a conclusion or a result of whatever was said before it.
So mark all the uses of “therefore,” “so that,” or any other words/phrases that indicate a conclusion. After you’ve marked them, give some thought to what was said before, and the conclusion that is drawn afterward. I recommend that you try to rewrite the conclusion, in your own words, in the margin.
Summarize it all.
After you’ve read through Ephesians 6:10-20 three times, marking every instance of “but,” “and,” and “therefore” or “so that,” look over the words you’ve marked as well as any notes you made in the margin.
Think about the insights that you gained through marking and thinking about those words.
- What new things did you notice in the passage?
- What ways do you understand the passage better now?
- How would you summarize the message of the passage now?
In your own words, summarize the things you noticed and learned. Write your summary in the margin of your page.
And, finally, think about the implications for your own life. How has what you learned today make any difference in your life? Try to come up with one specific way that it changes your life.
Join the Personal Bible Study Challenge!
Great job! 🙂 Next time, we’ll learn about asking questions in Bible study. So keep an eye out for the next part of this series on Bible study.
And happy studying! 😀